Joel Hackney, the site executive overseeing Nortel’s campus in the Triangle, is being promoted by the telecommunications gear maker.

Hackney will lead Nortel’s Enterprise Solutions group effectively immediately, Nortel Chief Executive Officer Mike Zafirovski announced Wednesday afternoon. Hackney replaces Steve Slattery, a longtime Nortel employee who “has decided to leave the company,” Nortel said in a statement.

Hackney’s promotion is the latest in a series of changes among Nortel’s senior management in recent months. In addition to overseeing more than 2,000 employees in RTP, Hackney was Nortel’s senior vice president for Global Operations and Quality.

"This is a big day for Nortel," Hackney said in an interview with Reuters news service. "We’re really signaling to the marketplace that we’re accelerating our progress in enterprise."

In March, Hackney received a vote of confidence from Zafirovski after Hackney was involved in a road rage incident involvement a female University of North Carolina student.

Zafirovski said Nortel had reviewed the incident. In an e-mail to employees, the CEO said: “I am absolutely confident of Joel’s ability to execute our business objectives, and he has given me his full assurance that he will hold to the highest ethical and professional standards expected of a Nortel leader.”

Hackney entered into a consent agreement in a Chapel Hill court that required him to have an anger management assessment, complete 50 hours of community service, and also write a letter of apology to Alicia Ogden, the student involved in the incident.

The Enterprise post is a key one for Nortel, producing $590 million in revenue in the second quarter of 2007, up 23 percent from one year earlier.

"We’re growing faster than the market. Our profitability is increasing significantly both at the gross-margin and earnings line," Hackney told Reuters. "We really believe that we can make this an anchor business."

In a statement announcing Hackney’s promotion, Zafirovski praised Hackney.

"Joel Hackney is a high-energy, results-oriented leader with a proven track record of leading and growing businesses,” Zafirovski said. “He is widely recognized for operational excellence and speed of execution," said Zafirovski. "Joel is absolutely the right person to further accelerate the momentum in Nortel’s Enterprise business that will be noticeable to customers, channel partners – and our competition."

In another management move, Nortel named Joe Flanagan as senior vice president of global operations.

Nortel (NYSE: ) shares closed at $16.50 Wednesday, down 37 cents. Nortel stock has stumbled lately to a 52-week low of $16.16 compared to a 52-week high of $31.79.